Baby Talk: Finding the beauty in the baby delay
I've talked openly about the anger I felt when I found out my neighbor was pregnant. I've shared my baby delay blues after my oncologist raised the bar on the 2-year conception plan, making it a 5-year conception plan.
But there’s something I haven’t mentioned, yet.
I haven’t mentioned the freedom and excitement I've discovered since I began to embrace the mandatory baby delay.
Let me start by saying, yes, I still daydream of little girls with pretty black curls and baby boys with dimples, but my heart doesn't ache at the thought of babies like it used to.
The pictures of my friends and their kids are no longer constant reminders of the life I wish I had. I’m not looking to keep the spare bedroom empty with the expectation of slowly filling it with baby furniture over the next few years.
No, really. I am.
There’s light in the darkness and I’m walking toward it.
What triggered the mental shift was a conversation with my best friend. One day, she asked me if my family’s complicated dynamics was the real driving force behind me wanting a kid so badly. While I didn’t feel like I was obsessing over the whole fertility thing, I was some kind of devastated because of the delay (even though it wasn’t a total denial).
A little known secret is Souers and I actually tried off and on for about a year to no avail. By trying, I mean we weren’t trying to prevent it.
We didn’t tell people because…pressure. Which is actually one of many reasons I think people, especially family, shouldn’t poke and prod in a couple’s fertility business.
I've had PCOS for many years and I knew it might take a little longer to conceive. Oddly enough, the doctor’s appointment where I was planning to get the medicine to aid in the process was the real beginning of my breast cancer journey.
I was seriously starting to think there was something wrong with our reproductive systems, but fertility tests proved we had a higher than average chance of reproducing. So, it’s safe to say, it just wasn’t our time.
The truth is, the disappointment and frustration of the baby delay is such a complicated topic for me because it was an issue long before the delay became medically necessary.
The mandatory baby delay has moved me into a period of self-awareness and forced me to re-evaluate my entire life, who I am, where I am, what I really want and where I really want to go. The beautiful thing is it has also provided me the time and space to redirect and focus on going after all of those things.
Honestly, I’ve been sitting back, thinking of a master plan and it’s quite simple: life domination.
This past year, I discovered a strength I didn’t know I had. I flexed my faith muscle more than I ever imagined I could. I owned up to the fact that I settled for less in many areas in my life. I’d gotten by being okay, but I know I am capable of being exceptional.
I started off with a certain vision for my marriage. Despite recognizing our lack of foundation on many levels, neither of us were making moves to address it. I’ve had several jobs in marketing and nonprofit development. While I’ve developed a strong skill set, I realized I needed to do people-centered work, and yet, I continued to move forward in the field instead of trying something new.
And the list goes on.
I think I tapped into the God in me this year, and I think once you tap into that spirit, you can’t allow yourself to be who you used to be. So, I’ve been reading and researching ways to reprogram the way I think and realign myself with the will and power of God.
Souers and I both agreed, our marriage wasn’t ready for a baby. I'm not really ready for a baby. I think I was clinging so hard to this idea of the “natural progression of marriage” and the thought that I may not ever be able to have something I was this close to having; I couldn’t admit that to myself at first.
In my video that details how I arrived at my breast cancer diagnosis, I mentioned how afraid I was going into my bilateral mastectomy surgery. Not only was I afraid to die, I was afraid I would die having played small for most of my life. I wrestled with the fact that I had all these dreams and goals that felt too big to truly be accomplished, but too significant to go to the grave.
So, this year, I started making moves even if I was afraid of what people would say or think and even if I was afraid it wouldn’t work the way I wanted. I had to try. Scratch that. I have to try.
From starting a photography project that offers free portrait sessions to cancer fighters (excited to say this is already in the works) to establishing a nonprofit that addresses the mental health of people affected by cancer, fertility preservation expenses, and cancer and career dynamics. There are so many things I’m going to tackle in the next five years.
And you know what else I really want to launch? My own line of stationery and journals. (Y’all know I love paper, right?)
I’ve been blessed with an unique insight into the heartache and challenges men, women, children and their parents face on a day to day basis all over our country (the world, really). And I sincerely believe my experiences will be the inspiration for initiatives that will lighten the burdens and brighten the lives of people affected by cancer.
The moral of the story
I’m thankful for the detour. It wasn’t what I wanted, but it’s absolutely what I believe I need. Nothing will be wasted and I will make the most of the second chance I’ve been given.